Monday, December 17, 2012

Holiday Drink Ideas

 Ah...the holiday season- a constant stream of holiday parties, eating, being surrounded by your entire family,'s like being trapped in a wedding that last a month in a half.  But lest you come down with a serious case of bah-humbugs*, there are some upsides- mainly, cookies, presents and best of all cocktails.  Odds are you have to attend at least one  (if not a slew of) holiday fête(s) this year.  Instead of trying to avoid your relatives by hiding the bathroom, try playing bartender and test out a recipe from one of the books below:

Beer Cocktails by Howard and Ashley Stezler
Call No.: 641.973 STE
Find it in the catalog!

Using beer to make cocktails is a great way to lighten up a drink and give it an interesting edge.  This book has lots of great beer cocktails for the holiday season.  The Maru (p.33) seems like a safe bet for a holiday brunch with it's mixture of blackberries, St. Germain liqueur and Sappora.  The Lager Grog (p.28) looks like a fine drink for a cold night with Sam Adams Boston Lager, apple cider, sherry and cloves.  Finally, for something fancy,  the Belgian 75 (p.45) is a twist on the French 75, with Belgian pale ale standing in for Champagne.

Boozy Brunch by Peter J. Joseph
Call No.: 641.874 JOS
Find it in the catalog!

Just because your party starts before noon, it doesn't mean you can't have a cocktail.  This book is full of light drink recipes including mimosas, Bellinis and other brunch favorites.  For those of you who like your drink to double as a meal, there is a whole chapter on Bloody Marys.  I'm not a huge fan of coffee in my cocktail, but the Café Brûlot Diabolique (p. 30) looks intriguing with its notes of cinnamon and clove.  The Lady Germain cocktail (p.79) is a fun twist on the classic St. Germain cocktail, with the addition of strawberries and gin.  Le Perroquest (p. 80) is a sophisticated version of the mimosa with a dash of Campari and gin.  Finally, it's not clear to me if the Smoked Martinez (p.139) with it's bacon-infused gin and maple syrup would be delicious or disgusting, but it certainly would be a conversation starter. 

Dr. Cocktail: 50 Spirited Infusions to Stimulate the Body and Mind by Alex Ott.
Call No.: 641.874 OTT
Find it in the catalog!

Do you want a cocktail that also has curative qualities?  Check out this book by chemist, mixologist and "master alchemist" Alex Ott.  Several of the recipes come with lists of the "active" ingredients in the cocktail.  The drinks are organized by the mood they create (i.e. "aphrodisiacs and magic tinctures," "memory-evoking elixirs") or the conditions (i.e. ""anti-stress cocktails and mental health elixirs.")  For a lighter holiday drink, check out the Fountain of Youth (p. 77) which combines white cranberry juice with cucumbers and gin.  A good drink for reminiscing over holidays past is the appropriately titled Xmas (p.148) which has clementines, gingerbread spice and clementine vodka in it.  Finally, a good party fix-it and forget-it drink is the Rembrandt sangria (p. 174)- a combination of tequila, pinot grigrio (or merlot) and cranberry juice infused with hibiscus tea.

Frontera: Margaritas, Guacamoles, and Snacks by Rick Bayless.
Call No.: 641.5973 BAY
Find it in the catalog!

Love margaritas, but don't find yourself satisfied by the run of the mill, pre-made mix variety?  This book is perfect for you.  There are lots of fancy, impressive margarita (and mezcal cocktails) here, as long as you don't mind infusing your tequila or making your own margarita mix.  Bayless even has a section on seasonal cocktails that make it easy to plan for your holiday parties.  Stand out recipes include a Tangerine Spice Margarita (p. 29-30) and a Sparkling Ginger Margarita (p. 39-40). 

The PDT Cocktail Book by Jim Meehan and Chris Gall
Call No.: 641.874 MEE
Find it in the catalog!

If your family and friends are pretty straightforward drinkers, this book will likely go over there heads.  However, if you want to impress your cocktail nerd friends, this is the book to do that.  There are plenty of drink infusions and obscure liquors that are sure to impress even the most seasoned (and snobby) drinker.  Good holiday drink recipes include: a Cranberry Cobbler (p.97) with simple syrup made with macerated cranberries, Hot Butterred Pisco (p. 144-5) is a combination of two common winter drinks: irish coffee and hot buttered rum, an Apple Daiquiri (p. 51) is a classy alternative of appletini fans, Vieux Carré (p. 262) is a pretty classic cocktail with a warming combo of rye whiskey and cognac.  Finally for fans of sparkling drinks, there is a Framboise Fizz (p. 124) with tequila, crème de cacao and Fraimboise Belgian ale. 

For more drink ideas, check out my post from last year!

*yes, I hate myself for saying this too.